Let’s look at a quick description of the Fight/Flight response being triggered:
1) Emotions are processed in the amygdala part of the brain. Thought and judgment are handled by the pre-frontal cortex. Sensory stimuli (sight, sound, touch, taste) is received by the thalamus and normally routes the bulk of the information to the cortex for a “reasoned” response and a small portion to the amygdala for an “emotional” response. The sense of smell is handled directly by the amygdala.
2) When a threat is perceived the majority of the sensory information is now diverted to the amygdala (amygdala hijack) and activates the fight/flight mechanism. The cortex handling judgment is overridden by the more primitive emotional amygdala to deal with the threat.
3) As the emotion builds, muscles tense, neurotransmitters are released causing a burst of energy lasting up to several minutes. Heart rate accelerates, blood pressure rises, and the rate of breathing increases. The face may flush as increased blood flow enters the limbs and extremities in preparation for physical action. Attention narrows and becomes locked onto the target of the emotion. In quick succession, additional brain neurotransmitters and hormones (among them adrenaline and noradrenaline) are released which trigger a lasting state of arousal. All ready to fight to defeat the perceived threat.
4) Once the source of the emotion is no longer accessible or no longer an immediate threat, the thalamus diverts the majority of the sensory stimuli back to the cortex for a reasoned response in the aftermath and the amygdala slows down the release of neurotransmitters thereby reducing adrenaline and other hormones. Sight, sound, touch, and taste memories are stored in the cortex and since the majority of this sensory information was diverted to the amygdala during the rage, this information becomes foggy (dissociative). The olfactory memories were stored as normal in the amygdala and are perceived as sharp in comparison to the other senses. This is the reason why traumatic events are often associated with odors.
5) With adrenaline still floating around in the system it can take several hours and even days to reach a fully calm state. During this slow cool-down period it is more likely to get very angry in response to minor irritations that normally would not be a bother.
But wait, there is more! This article in Psychology Today referenced a pretty interesting fact:
“Matthew Lieberman, a neuroscientist has found an inverse relationship between the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s executive function where rational thought and judgment sit.
When the amygdala is active with blood and oxygen, there is less activation in the pre-frontal cortex. Our thinking power is disrupted and there are deficits in our problem solving, because the blood and oxygen are in the amygdala versus the pre-frontal cortex.
It is like losing 10 to 15 IQ points temporarily, which explains “what was I thinking?” So we are thinking but with less capacity and brain power.”
I propose the following:
Dark Triad (Machiavellian-ism, psychopathy, and narcissism) traits are considered attractive because they promote the exact opposite of anything considered “safe” or “secure” and could conceivably stimulate an even mild “fight or flight” response. These fear responses cause a amygdala “hijack” by diverting blood flow inversely away from the pre-frontal cortex (where judgment and rational thought reside), and into the amygdala where emotion rules.
The more you ramp up the “danger” quotient (real-a motorcycle ride of increasing risk, perceived-a crazy story of intrepid daring told well), the more emotion you generate, the more blood flow to the amygdala, less to the pre-frontal cortex, less judgment available, and the more open to suggestion or being led a person (in this case, female) gets.
Now, we already know that women as emotional creatures don’t have the ability to reason in the same capacity of a man, but how bad is it in the face of the feeling of danger? I suggest it’s crippling for a female. I think the only defenses they have are directly tied to their ego and their perceived and reflected view of self which they need to constantly reconstruct and realign based on the situation on the ground and their inability to reason because of physical limitations that a fear response causes.
Have I uncloaked the hamster?
Additionally, depending on hemispherical alignment (left/right) this starvation of blood flow and oxygen to certain parts of the brain and corollary lack of ability to reason has been proven to cause either depression or a complete withdrawal of emotion, sometimes to the extreme. An interesting question I have yet to ponder.
I wonder if this is why they overreact to creepy crawlers in the house.…..it causes a monster tingle and it feels so good to be scared and delivered from the monster. Probably a good reason why “dread game” works so well, it’s not the fear of loss, but the physical stimulation to the emotional center of her brain and she literally can’t reason her way out and chooses to be led.